From birth, the intake of vital nutrients is essential to the growth and development of healthy individuals. Food insecurity threatens that critical foundation.

Eating Habits Among People with Very Low Food Insecurity

  • Cut size of or skipped meal: 97%
  • Ate less than they felt they should: 95%
  • Didn’t eat the whole day: 65%
  • Lost weight: 48%
  • Hungry but did not eat: 27%

Hunger and Obesity

Obesity is a major public health problem. Food insecure and low‐income individuals are especially vulnerable to obesity due to additional risk factors such as…

  • Less access to healthy, affordable food.
  • High levels of stress.
  • Phases of limited food intake and overeating.

A study found that low household food security is associated with a 22% greater likelihood of childhood obesity compared to households with persistent food security.

Lifelong Consequences of Hunger

Pregnancy

  • Maternal anemia
  • Risk of infection
  • Premature delivery
  • Low birth weight

Children

  • Increased hospital visits
  • Developmental delays
  • Anemia
  • Anxiety

Adults

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes

Senior Citizens

  • High risk of infections
  • Exacerbation of chronic diseases
  • Increased risk of stroke

Food Assistance Programs Reduce Food Insecurity and its Negative Impacts

  • Food insecure families who participate in SNAP (food stamps) are twice as likely to be healthy than those who don’t.
  • WIC has a positive effect on childrenʹs diets, increasing intakes of nutrient dense foods containing iron, vitamins B6 and C, thiamin, and niacin ‐ without an increase in food energy intake.
  • Children who participate in the School Breakfast Program have an easier time concentrating in class.
  • The National School Lunch Program addresses hunger among low‐income students while protecting them from excess weight gain.
  • The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) helps seniors maintain the nutrition needed to reduce the risk of chronic illness.
  • 85% of surveyed physicians agree that unmet social needs lead to worse health for Americans, and are therefore as important to address as medical conditions.

 

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